In a far-reaching foreign policy interview with the Wall Street Journal, President-elect Donald Trump is taking it more clear where he stands on policy with respect to both China and Russia. In particularly with respect to Russia, he appeared to be backing away from previous talks of quick normalization of ties.
In fact, Trump insisted that he is not going to remove Obama-imposed sanctions on Russia right away, something that was assumed by most reports given comments both from Russian officials and other figures on the Trump transition team. Instead, Trump says he will leave the Russia sanctions intact, pending Russia “really helping us.”
Trump did, however, say that he would remove the sanctions if Russia helps him reach his “goals,” insisting that there would obviously not be sanctions “if somebody’s doing some really great things.”
With respect to China, Trump remained more overtly hostile, insisting that everything with respect to China is up for negotiations, as he condemned China’s currency manipulation as unfair to US manufacturers, and insisted that the long-standing “One China” policy was conditional on China making serious reforms.
Trump had already raised questions about the “One China” policy by taking a phone call from the President of Taiwan, a country the US simultaneously heavily arms and does not recognize it’s existence. The call angered China, and Chinese officials have further criticized Trump’s incoming cabinet, with Secretary of State-nominee Rex Tillerson having called to deny China access to Chinese-made islands.